2021 ISL Playoffs Match 4 Preview: LA Fights to Prove 1st Match Win Not a Fluke

2021 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – SEASON 3, MATCH 15 – PLAYOFFS MATCH 4

  • Saturday, November 13th – Sunday, November 14th
  • 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm local time; 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
  • Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Short Course Meters (25m – SCM) Format
  • ISL Season 3 Schedules, Start Times, & More
  • Teams Competing: Cali Condors, London Roar, LA Current, Iron

In Match 2 of 2021 ISL playoffs, the LA Current pulled off a surprising upset victory, toppling the London Roar and also taking down the Toronto Titans, two teams that out-ranked them following the conclusion of the regular season in Naples.

This weekend, LA faces London again as well as season 2 champions the Cali Condors. While Iron is here as it would be a huge upset for them to place higher than 4th. The Condors should be the favorites going into this match, making the battle for 2nd an exciting contest between London and LA.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

  • Match 1 – November 11-12: #1 Energy Standard, #2 Cali Condors, #7 DC Trident, #8 Iron
  • Match 2 – November 13-14 #3 London Roar, #4 Toronto Titans, #5 LA Current,  #6 Aqua Centurion
  • Match 3 – November 18-19 – #1 Energy Standard, #4 Toronto Titans, #6 Aqua Centurions, #7 DC Trident
  • Match 4 – November 20-21 – #2 Cali Condors, #3 London Roar, #5 LA Current, #8 Iron
  • Match 5 – November 25-26 – #1 Energy Standard, #3 London Roar, #5 LA Current, #7 DC Trident
  • Match 6 – November 27-28 – #2 Cali Condors, #4 Toronto Titans, #6 Aqua Centurions, #8 Iron

TEAM PLAYOFF ROSTERS

With no indication that Caeleb Dressel has returned to ISL competition, this weekend’s men’s butterfly races favor LA Current’s Tom Shields. Shields will get heavy pressure from Iron’s Nicholas Santos and Thom de Boer in the 50 fly, as well as from Luiz Altamir Melo in the 200 fly, though he should be the favorite in the 100 and 200. Coleman Stewart could step in for Dressel for the Condors with Eddie Wang taking on the 200 fly, while LA’s Tomoe Hvas or Maxime Rooney will likely play supporting roles to Shields. The London Roar, meanwhile, calls upon Vini Lanza and Teppei Morimoto on the men’s side, great competitors each, though perhaps overshadowed by the likes of Shields and Santos. The women’s fly races will be just as exciting with showdowns between Kelsi Dahlia and Erika Brown of the Condors, Emma McKeon and Marie Wattel of London, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Emilie Beckmann of Iron. All of the women mentioned, however, favor the 50 and 100 with the sole exception of Dahlia, who is also world-class in the 200 fly. Dahlia’s only real competition in the 200 fly is likely to come from London’s Ilaria Bianchi or LA’s Helena Gasson.

In backstroke, we once again see Ryan Murphy representing the LA Current, making for a tentative favorite across all three distances. Murphy will face off with Cali’s Coleman Stewart for the first time in ISL competition since the league final last year. Stewart, now the World Record holder in the 100 SCM backstroke, has become the man with the target on his back, though Murphy as the 4-time Olympic champion looms large over all competitors. Justin Ress could help Stewart in the 50 and 100 backstrokes, but Cali’s somewhat lacking in the men’s 200 back beyond Stewart. London’s Guilherme Guido, Luke Greenbank, and Christian Diener cover all the bases on the men’s side, and it would not be a surprise to see Guido or Greenbank get to the wall first in either the 50 or 100 (Guido), or even the 200 (Greenbank). Iron will have a tougher time in men’s backstroke and will need some big swims from Robert Glinta, Lorenzo Mora, and Guilherme Basseto, but Glinta has had a great season so far and could put substantial points on the boar.

Women’s backstroke will be a great battle between Minna Atherton and Kira Toussaint from London, Beata Nelson, Olivia Smoliga, and Sherridon Dressel from the Condors, and Ingrid Wilm from the LA Current. Nelson, Atherton, and Wilm are probably the most versatile female backstrokers competing this weekend with the ability to win all three distances, though with such a stacked field, sweeping the backstrokes is unlikely for any of them. Iron’s female backstroke contingent is a bit lacking and will require big swims from Melanie Henique, Silvia Scalia, or Africa Zamorano if they’re to see any points from these events.

The Cali Condors bring a stacked group of female breaststroke specialists including Lilly King, Molly Hannis, and Emily Escobedo, while London counters with equally as impressive Annie Lazor and Alia Atkinson. Iron’s Ida Hulkko has had a pretty good season but will need to raise her game to match the likes of the crews from the ‘Dors and London, while LA brings in Imogen Clark and Kotryna Teterevkova. In Naples, women’s breaststroke seemed an Achilles’ heel for LA, but in the playoffs, they have turned it into a minor strength. The men’s breaststroke events this weekend present no clear favorites for victories. Perhaps Iron’s Emre Sakci has an edge in the 50 and 100, despite not having a great regular season. Cali’s Nic Fink could be the favorite in the 200, and Oleg Kostin should also make some noise. Meanwhile, London will need big swims from Ross Murdoch and Sam Williamson to see any significant points here. Similarly, LA’s male breaststroke roster is in dire straights and will need Christopher Rothbauer to step up significantly if they’re to do anything here.

The London Roar boasts perhaps the most well-rounded freestyle roster for both men and women of the four teams competing this weekend. Kyle Chalmers, Duncan Scott, Dylan Carter, Emma McKeon, and Marie Wattel cover the sprints, while Freya Anderson, Tom Dean, Ed Mildred, Zac Incerti, and Scott again cover middle-distance. The LA Current probably boasts the second-best freestyle roster with Abbey Weitzeil, Madison Wilson, Valentine Dumont, Maxime Rooney, Brett Pinfold, Fernando Scheffer, and Breno Correia. London and LA hit both the Condors and Iron especially hard in the middle-distance freestyles, an area where both teams have been sorely lacking this season. The Condors will rely on Erika Brown, Katerine Savard, Olivia Smoliga, Townley Haas, Justin Ress, and Kacper Majchrzak to reel in their freestyle points, unless Dressel makes a surprise appearance. Oddly, Haas and the men’s 200/400 may represent the Condors’ best bet for major points in this weekend’s freestyle races, a reversal of the trends we’ve seen so far this season from the Condors, who have been sprint-heavy. Finally, Iron brings in top-end sprinters Thom de Boer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Beyond the sprints, however, Iron’s best hope for points in middle-distance will come from Barbora Seemanova, who had a pretty good regular season, and Luiz Altamir Melo, both solid but unlikely to win an event.

The IM is, all together, probably the weakest discipline on display this weekend. If Duncan Scott swims either the 200 or 400 IM for London, he is probably the favorite to win, while Vini Lanza could also put some big points on the board. London’s female IM roster is pretty much just Sydney Pickrem and Katie Shanahan, who together are capable of big points, though their records this season could best be described as hit-or-miss. Beryl Gastaldello, Anastasia Gorbenko, Helena Gasson, Tomoe Hvas, and Abrahm DeVine comprise the IM squad from the LA Current, though this crew largely favors the 100 and 200 distances and is unlikely to do anything significant in the 400. The Condors, meanwhile, bring in Beata Nelson, Kathrin Demler, Marcin Cieslak, and Mark Szaranek. Like LA, this team much favors the 100 and 200, though Nelson has proven capable in the 400 as well this ISL season. Finally, Iron has Leonardo Santos, Marco Orsi, Erik Persson, Maria Ugolkova, and Africa Zamorano. Collectively, Iron covers all three IM races pretty well, though their swimmers are unlikely to win any of them.

Finally, the relays will be a three-way battle between London, Cali, and LA for the most overall points. Cali has extreme depth in the medley relays, even without Dressel, though London might have the best group of male 100 freestylers in the league this season, perhaps just behind Energy Standard. LA can also create formidable freestyle and medley relays, and it wouldn’t be wholly surprising to see them pick up a relay victory or two. Iron, on the other hand, can probably assemble some strong ‘A’ relays but is lacking the ability to cobble together competitive ‘B’ relays, therefore weakening their position relative to the other teams.

Projected Team Placings

  1. Cali Condors
  2. London Roar
  3. LA Current
  4. Iron

The Cali Condors are the slight favorites to win this match, despite having lost once in the regular season to the London Roar. We’ll give Roar the edge of the Current this time, though LA did prove us wrong last week when we made the same prediction. Iron, however, is clearly going to get 4th, though they should still spice up a lot of this weekend’s races, especially sprint fly and free, as well as backstroke.

In This Story

22
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
22 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
CC2004
17 days ago

Sacki didn’t swim for Iron last weekend

Sub13
17 days ago

Social media pretty much confirms Peaty and Prigoda are still MIA. Even so, a surprise win by Roar here would basically guarantee them a spot in the final. On the other hand, another loss to LA, putting them third, puts them in a precarious position.

This match could be fairly close between the top 3 teams, and the order will likely be decided by some close touches. Should be a good match!

CC2004
Reply to  Sub13
17 days ago

On Pullbuoy podcast that are following London Roar someone in the team said Prigoda is there but didn’t say about when he will swim for them

Sub13
Reply to  CC2004
17 days ago

Oh I didn’t know that. Interesting!

Edit: Wait, do you mean the London Roar podcast? I’ve listened to all the recent episodes and don’t remember anyone saying they saw Prigoda. Are you sure that’s right?

Last edited 17 days ago by Sub13
CC2004
Reply to  Sub13
17 days ago

It was before the playoffs started

Sub13
Reply to  CC2004
17 days ago

Oh. When you said “Prigoda is there” I assumed you meant “in Eindhoven”. But if this was before the playoffs started then obviously that’s not what you meant. Someone said on Brett Hawke’s podcast last week (the one with Bruno Fratus) that no one had seen Prigoda in Eindhoven and the team hadn’t really heard from him.

Well I’m not holding my breath for Peaty or Prigoda tbh. I suspect they’ll both remain out but Dressel will swoop back in the final to win it for Cali.

whever
Reply to  CC2004
17 days ago

Interesting. Is it due to some covid-related policies for the Russians? Per instagram, it seems Chikunova is also in hotel room in Eindhoven but she didn’t swim for Energy Standard for the first two matches.

Last edited 17 days ago by whever
CY~
Reply to  whever
17 days ago

Vekovishchev literally flew in from Russian SCs today and is competing though

Bpbxdrm
17 days ago

Social media suggests that Dressel and Flickinger will be there!!! #gocondors

Marcy Spann
17 days ago

i feel like swimswam is going to eat their words when the LA Current go balls out today lmao

Sub13
Reply to  Marcy Spann
17 days ago

Roar has spent the whole season missing key swimmers and consistently having some of their best point scorers not swim to their potential. I hope they turn it around before they miss the final.

CC2004
17 days ago

https://www.omegatiming.com/2021/isl-match-15-live-results Link to match 15 as startlists are already up

CC2004
Reply to  CC2004
17 days ago

Breaking news Caeleb Dressel is back for the Condors

CY~
17 days ago

Toussaint back in 200back
Pickrem back in 200breast
Dean in 200breast?!
Both Dressels back but CD not in 100fly, and unusually anchoring the free relay
Flickinger is also back!
London’s medley relays… Guido-Williamson-Chalmers-Carter + Diener-Murdoch-Lanza-Nakamura

Okay London making a lot of moves, Cali got an upgrade, this is gonna be interesting

CC2004
Reply to  CY~
17 days ago

About time Toussaint / Pickrem where back in 200 back / breast respectively

Tom Dean swimming 200 breast , London trying anything to get points in the breaststroke events

Daeleb Creseel
Reply to  CC2004
17 days ago

Nah I think Dean is just filling the lane here to save Sam Williamson for the medley relay

Last edited 17 days ago by Daeleb Creseel
Sub13
Reply to  Daeleb Creseel
17 days ago

Yes I agree. Dean’s performance last week in his signature events was pretty dismal, so I guess if we’re going to get jackpotted anyway May as well save the breaststroker for the relay which could actually make a difference.

Sub13
Reply to  CY~
17 days ago

If Peaty was back then LON would have a solid shot at winning the medley relay but without him they definitely don’t. Women’s medley should be close between LON abd Cali so I hope it goes our way, but my mind tells me that Cali has the edge.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  CY~
17 days ago

Will Pickrem show?

Daeleb Creseel
17 days ago

I’ll cry if Roar loses to LA again

Sub13
Reply to  Daeleb Creseel
17 days ago

You and me both! But honestly anything could happen. There are a few events where 3 or 4 swimmers could potentially win it (eg most of the backstroke events) so the top 3 spots are all up for grabs.

I suspect now that Cali and LA are back at full steam and London is still missing key swimmers that Cali will dominate while Roar and LA battle for second, but who knows.

Just give the trophy to the condors already
17 days ago

I want the good rivalry back between LA/Cali like in S1

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

Read More »